Game 158 & 159: Splits Aren’t Just For Dessert
By Sarah Powers
After Mother Nature decided to intervene yesterday across the Metroplex, double header baseball got underway in Arlington on Sunday.
Yu Darvish & Derek Holland went for the Rangers today; one had a pretty good day, one had a battle to fight.
Darvish went six and two-thirds innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and striking out seven. He gave up one home run and walked one batter as well. The biggest thing is that Darvish is keeping the walks down at an acceptable rate considering where he started the season. He will now get to be tested in the MLB playoffs and we will get to see if his evolution is still going. It will be enjoyable seeing how he carries on through October. Note: Mike Trout hit the one home run in the game. This now makes Trout the youngest player to achieve a 30/30 season.
Holland had his second weird outing today. He went six and two thirds innings as well, but did not have his teammate’s success at keeping the run total down. He yielded seven runs on twelve hits; he also struck out five, walked two and gave up two home runs. For Holland, he fought hard to stay calm and muscle his way through his outing. He was left out a little t0o long and left a pitch up to Howie Kendrick, who hit a three run bomb in the seventh. I believe he will be ok in the playoffs, but he has to just stay focused and pitch the best he can and trust himself to get things done for the Rangers.
The crux of the day centered around an Angel and two Rangers: Torii Hunter, Joe Nathan, & Mike Napoli.
In game one, Nathan was sent in with a 4-3 lead to work with. He got a ground out, but then surrendered a walk and a single. He struck out Trout to get the second out when Hunter came up to bat. Hunter was already 3-4 and proceeded to double in both base runners to get LA the win 5-4. Hunter ended his day going 7-9 with three RBI and the game wining double. This also marked Nathan’s third blown save of the season. He then answered and redeemed himself in game two with a solid ninth inning performance in much the same situation. The Rangers won game two 8-7.
It may not be another “Year of the Napoli” going into the 2012 playoffs, but it’s certainly Nap-tember for the Rangers. He went 3-3 in game two with six RBI (a career best in a single game) and propelled the Rangers to a much needed victory. His two home runs give him twenty-three on the year now and hopefully this is a sign of a truly great October push for Napoli.
The Rangers officially achieved two of three main goals tonight: they eliminated LA from division contention and secured a playoff berth. Now, they are one win away from clinching their third consecutive AL West Division title and one simple win against Oakland will help them achieve the last of the immediate goals. There will be more in the game preview, which will be up a bit later.